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  • Writer's pictureCJ Murphy

Kaleidoscope Perception

My PCT's (Positive CJ Thoughts)-Maybe not as positive as normal, but I hope enlightening nonetheless.

This morning, our power went off at 2am. There was at least six inches of snow on the ground and its a burr rabbit, 13 degrees outside. Fortunately for us, we had the forethought during the build, to put in a whole house generator and a fireplace. Oh, and a big ass propane tank. My wife actually heard the generator which prompted her to pick up her phone and make the 'out of service' notification. In my state of, "it's 2am, who could she be talking to? I hear- "Yes. The generator is running", and a few other question answers I was still too far into la la land to be able to distinguish. 4am, alarm goes off, I wake up to an empty bed, devoid of my wife and my three cats. Stumble to the kitchen to begin my day. I look out to see a fresh 6 inches of snow on the ground. From the living room I hear-"Yes. We've been out off and on all winter. So, you're just going to leave us out? Someone will be coming out the road in ten or so minutes, they can follow the tracks in."

I walk to the living room, where my wife tells me the power company is at the end of our road afraid to come out. Now, some of you have seen pictures of where we choose to build, it's beautiful but also remote. After kissing my wife goodbye, gathering my gear, I trudge through the snow and throw the Toyota into 4WD. I've driven out in worse. I finally plow through a few drifts that might reach above half on my tire to find the power company sitting in the middle of the road on the ridge. It's too narrow to pass so I get out and trudge up to his window. I inform him that I just came up out of it so he should have no problem getting in. He looks at me and smirks. I know it's coming.

Power Company Dude..."Can I ask you a question?"

Me..."Sure, let me guess. Why did we move out here?" I smile.

"Uh, yeah."

"Have you ever been out there?"

"No Ma 'me."

"You'll see when you get there."


Now granted, Power Company dude wasn't going to get the full affect, because it was still dark. He wouldn't see the mountain view or the house in all it's glory on a beautiful blue sky day. He wouldn't get to see the awesome sleigh ride hill or the leaves in the fall and he likely wouldn't even enjoy the splendor of the snow fall. (We got him out of bed at 3am after all.) It's even too cloudy to see the billion stars that show up every night.

His 'perception' is that we moved out into the middle of nowhere, back a narrow road, on top of a mountain, in one of the highest snowfall areas of the county and in many cases, the state. Tough luck with your electric issue.

Our perception is, we moved onto 221 acres of trees, trails, and wonder. We carved and cleared out this spot. It went from a small open field to the tree lined acreage that exists now. We dreamed, planned and worked our asses off to build our home, the place we could retire, sit on the porch and watch the sunset. We have a great place that we hope our nieces and nephews will look forward to coming for sleep overs, sleigh rides, camp fires and a place to just escape whatever it is that will burden them later.

The other part to our perception is, it's less than fifteen minutes from our vegetable farm. We no longer have to drive forty minutes home in the dark just to turn around and do it again the next evening. We are fifteen minutes from our eight year old nephew that wants to build Lego's, play basketball, and give cannonball hugs before bedtime. It's fifteen minutes from family and friends and it's where we love to lay our head down every night.

Last night, when we crawled into bed, I made some comment about not believing we were actually living there and something to the effect that without each other, this dream wasn't possible. It would never have happened.


She and I look at the world through a completely different kaleidoscope. She looks at things with a set of analytical black and white eyes, that gets things done, lays out the plan, and accomplishes the goals. She's damn good at organization and planning with implementation. Her eyes draw the outlines, the boundaries and the 'how'. Her eyes see the lists, the to-do's, the must-get-done's.

Me? Well, I see things in color and concept. A lot of, 'what ifs' and 'maybe this'. My eyes use the 152 Crayon box- WITH the sharpener. I can readily admit; this approach is not always productive. I color outside the lines and sometimes screw up her carefully drawn edges. I put texture and shading in. I use all the colors in the box...Well except for the black and whites- those belong almost exclusively to her. Oh and burnt umber, which has since been replace with burnt sienna. I don't use those because they remind me of rust. Don't ask, just not my favorite. Sometimes I'll make my own colors too, easier to do with colored pencils than crayons, but you get the idea.

We each use those perceptions to form a complete picture.

The Merriam-Webster definition of perception is: "a result of perceiving: observation, a mental image: concept, obsolete: consciousness, awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation, physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience."

Sensation was highlighted, so I clicked it, leading to the Merriam-Webster definition of that particular concept.

"A mental process (such as seeing, hearing, or smelling) resulting from the immediate external stimulation of a sense organ often as distinguished from a conscious awareness of the sensory process."

Then it adds this: "Compare perception".

I started asking myself: Are the two words exclusive, inclusive or perhaps, complementary? We perceive something by the sensation it gives us. We see the world through the 'kaleidoscope' that we are comfortable with, that we live by.

Example, our different perception of the state of our country. Its current politics and attitudes are fragments of our perception.

As a lesbian, I'm appalled by how many of our rights are being turned back in a fraction of the time it took us to gain. Things I never thought I'd see in my lifetime, thing that afforded me the legal right to call my partner, my wife are constantly in jeopardy.

Environmental regulations designed to ensure us clean air, clean water, and the right to know what's going on around us, are disappearing on a daily basis.

Common decency is being replaced with homophobic, bigoted acts of cowardice, happening with impunity and even encouragement from the man holding the highest office in the land. Bullying is now accomplished with 280 characters from someone elected and holding the reins of power under the guise of 'making America great again'.

Hatred rallies behind social media posts and broadcast news. I don't know about you, but it's making my America anything but great for me. It's also making it a place of fear for those who already have a lesser seat at the table because of the color of their skin, nationality, religion and sexual orientation.

From the other side, less restrictions, tax breaks, freedom of choice, 'telling it like it is'. I think one of my favorite lines from the election said something about my drunk uncle tells it like it is; doesn't mean I want him as my president.


People scream from assembly halls and rally around the confederate flag, wailing about how they have been suppressed and forced into a politically correct life that prohibits them from speaking freely. That somehow the Civil War wasn't about owning slaves, but a way of life.

A way of life that centered around owning people! Not just owning people but using them like disposable appliances, abusing them, separating them from families and selling them like PROPERTY. Yes…those were the good ole days weren't they? Hell of a way of life to defend.

Today there are groups that OPENLY glorify Hitler and white supremacy, screaming that their way of life is threatened by something they don't like. That Jews should be killed and everyone that looks Mexican should be deported-American citizen or not, that all those of Muslim faith, are terrorists. They wring their hands that their religious values are under attack, that my marriages somehow invalidate theirs. A heterosexual man or woman can choose a spouse by dating a dozen people on a TV show. People can get married based solely on someone else matching them up, without ever having met or formed a relationship, film it, and get divorced when it fails.

BUT --MY marriage to another woman of fifteen years, jeopardizes the 'sanctity' of the institution.

If some had their way, America would be great again because it would be white, Christian, heterosexual, male dominated, and free to buy a weapon that can fire 1200 rounds a minute and melt down the barrel, as they defend themselves from their 'perceived' enemies. Please don't tell me this isn't true, I've seen it from those elected to office, from those who GOVERN my life. Men who sit in judgement that birth control isn't a medical necessity and allow businesses to refuse to have medical coverage for it, all while having no qualms about a little blue pill being 'medically necessary'.

It's all about perception, and I'm not talking about the kind that has an "R" or a "D" on your voter's registration card. I'm talking about perception of human decency. I'm not talking about being politically correct, I'm talking about the bible so many love to hold up as an excuse for their behavior. I'm taking about "The Golden Rule." Matthew 7:12 says "In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the prophets."

I shake my head at those who would use the same bible I hold in my hands on Sunday, to back up their own beliefs to justify intolerance for things other than the way they see it. WHERE does it say to treat people the way I'm watching play out on the nightly news?


A kaleidoscope view changed by simply moving the pieces around.

Merriam-Webster's defines the kaleidoscope this way.

"an instrument containing loose bits of colored material (such as glass or plastic) between two flat plates and two plane mirrors so placed that changes of position of the bits of material are reflected in an endless variety of patterns."

What we do about it is personal, based on partly on what we believe and partly on sensation, how we see, feel, hear and taste it.

Small bits and pieces, that when moved around, reflect off of something else changing the perception with every turn. And endless variety. What an amazing world it would be if the two flat plates and plane mirrors were made up of tolerance and decency.


Oh, and by the way, our power is back on. My wife plowed the road and the crew came back out to our house. I wonder what the crew that just left, thought of our place in the light of day? Did they see it as a foolish whim to move out into the middle of nowhere, or did they go away wishing it was where they lived?

Sometimes in the light of day, the take away is completely different than in the dark of night.

If you enjoy my musings, look for my blog every week and take a chance on my novel 'frame by frame' available at outlets below.

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Absolutely Fantastic 

 I was right there in the story. It has strong characters and the individual personalities are remarkable. I love the deep family bond and Ree is someone I absolutely adore. I really am impressed with this debut novel. An outstanding and exciting romance. Read it and I’m sure you won’t regret it.- Goodreads 11/30/17



If there were 10 stars, I would choose 12

This is a happy ever after story, one we would all use, especially now. This is a debut novel for this writer and all I can say is I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR MORE. If these were 10 stars, I would choose 12.



Beautiful Story

This is the first book I have read from this author and I loved it. I really loved taking the adventure with to strong women that both were dealing with a past.... I definitely recommend this book.



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